- Dion Phaneuf (82-17-43-60-182) People will argue for Lidstrom here, but this is a fantasy team, not a real team, and that means "The Dion" reigns supreme. He is the total package on defense and the only person on this list I would even consider taking in the first round.
- Nicklas Lidstrom (76-10-60-70-40) Lidstrom is still the best in the business on the ice, but his goal and PIM totals keep him out of the top spot. Health/durability is also going to become a factor at some point too. That said, you could do a lot worse than taking the Wings captain in the second round.
- Sergei Gonchar (78-12-53-65-66) There is still no word on the shoulder injury Gonchar sustained Saturday night, so I am going on the assumption that he only misses a few weeks and am thus keeping him in the three spot on this list. In all honesty, he would have to miss at least a couple months for me to drop him. And just so you know I'm putting my money where my mouth is, I drafted Sergei in the second round of my draft on Sunday night. Of course I took Ryan Whitney too...
- Zdeno Chara (77-17-34-51-114) Chara had just the kind of year the Bruins were expecting when they signed him to a monster contract in the summer of 2006, and I would look for more of the same this season. A bump in his assist total would be nice, but I would expect the rest of his numbers to pretty much stay the same, which is a good thing.
- Mike Green (82-18-38-56-62) Green was one of last season's pleasant surprises and I look for more of the same from Green in 08-09. Much like teammate Alexander Ovechkin, Green likes to shoot the puck, and that could result in 20 goals for the Capitals point man this year.
- Chris Pronger (72-12-31-43-128) Chris Pronger doesn't seem to draw the kind of attention he did a couple years ago in fantasy circles, but he is still a great guy to have on your roster. The Ducks should be better than last season with guys like Niedermayer and Selanne on the roster from the get go, and that will help Pronger's numbers. He could end up being the big steal on this list.
- Brian Rafalski (73-13-42-55-34) One of the big steals in drafts last season was Brian Rafalski. I don't know why people were so down on him after he signed with Detroit, but he is the real deal and should have another brilliant season manning the right point in Motown.
- Scott Niedermayer (48-8-17-25-16) Forget about all of the drama last season. Niedermayer is still one of the best defensemen in the NHL. If you are lucky he will slip in your draft and you can snatch him up with a mid-round pick.
- Andrei Markov (82-16-42-58-63) Montreal should score plenty of goals this season. That combined with the departure of Mark Streit makes Markov a nice addition to any fantasy roster. Especially when you consider how much the Habs look to score on the man advantage.
- Brian Campbell (83-8-54-62-20) I was torn here between Campbell and Dan Boyle, the guy who replaced him in San Jose. I went with Campbell because I think he will be relied on more in Chicago and I think he is just a better option. His goal and PIM numbers were nothing to write home about last year, but I think the Hawks will be more dynamic offensively than the Sharks, and that gives Campbell the edge here.
Chris Yarbrough is the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blogs, Taking One for the Team and The Flower Shop.
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